The Cloud Campus Student Experience

By Keighley Bradford. Published October 29, 2020.

While applying to study my Masters, I discovered that postgraduate students could study online. I live in Newcastle, so going to campus wouldn’t have been an issue, but I was also applying for work and didn’t want my studies to interfere with me getting an opportunity, so I chose to study online full time with the intention of reducing my course load back to part time if I secured a job. Besides, being a Cloud Campus student didn’t worry me as I had experience with working and studying from home.

However, I will admit that studying online has been a little different from what I expected. Each lecturer teaches the online courses differently, so you could have weekly lectures on in the evening via platforms like Zoom or Collaborate, or you could simply have recordings from these lectures (or from a previous trimester). There is usually no pressure to show up to the live lectures because lecturers know each student’s situation is different and that that time may not work for them. As such, remote learning offers a lot more flexibility as to how and when you study.

The coursework between face-to-face and online is mostly the same as well, with minor changes made, for example, with how and when you access lecture content. Things like presentations are a lot harder to do due to postgrad lifestyles, and as such can be done and submitted as recordings (depending on your degree). Exams are also more flexible as well, with most of my exams thus far allowing a three-day timeframe to sit and complete the exam (in one sitting, of course).

There is also a surprising amount of group work, which really shouldn’t be a surprise as it’s a course requirement by UON, however it does add some stress when you’re trying to organise groups with people you’ve never met, who live anywhere in Australia (and some whom live overseas), and then trying to find a time you are all free to virtually meet up.

Overall I am quite satisfied with my Cloud Campus lifestyle, however if there is one thing I wished I’d known prior to commencing, it would be that even though you’re studying full time, you are no longer eligible for student travel concession (which I suppose makes sense). So, if you’re a student who does (or would) travel to campus to study or use the uni resources, that’s something to keep in mind.

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